OSCARS: Recognizing the Scribes of Best Original Screenplay

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boyhood_stillLast week, we saw the Oscar Predictions get a face lift with a sleek new design, and a more interactive way to engage the readers with their ever evolving thoughts on the Academy Awards race.  Best Picture was first with the well over a dozen films that feel like potential slam dunks for the studios.  I’ve placed my bets on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice to carry the torch in Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix.  With the Best Actress race, we have an opportunity to explore a new realm of competitive cinema.  Amy Adams holds the top spot for her upcoming role in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes but overdue thespians Michelle Williams (in Suite Francaise) and Jessica Chastain (in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby) are also vying for their first Academy Award.  This could be a death match to witness by the time awards season rolls around.  Also worth noting, all three are in the hands of Harvey Weinstein.

Supporting categories are plentiful and wide open at the moment.  Mark Ruffalo holds on as a sure-fire contender after a warm reception at the Cannes Film Festival for Foxcatcher while we hold on to a pipe dream that either Kristin Scott Thomas or Julianne Moore will finally land at Oscar’s podium for Saul Dibb’s Suite Francaise or David Cronenberg’s Map to the Stars.

This week, we move our focus to the screenplay categories.  The first major update comes in Best Original Screenplay, a group that highlights some of the most innovative and creative films that often times can’t break into any other major category.  Last year, Spike Jonze rightfully snagged his first Academy Award for penning Her and joins the company of Charlie Kaufman, Quentin Tarantino, and Sofia Coppola.  Writers, who are also filmmakers that Oscar can’t QUITE get fully on board with but recognize for their creative geniuses.  The scribes are often embraced fondly with Oscar when a larger scale recognition like Best Picture or Director isn’t necessarily in the cards for them.  This year, we look to some very seemingly creative pictures on the horizon.

Richard Linklater is a writer/director who continues to push the boundaries of filmmaking and his newest venture with Eltar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, and Ethan Hawke could place him firmly on Oscar’s radar.  Boyhood, which premiered at Sundance, continues to screen for critics over the next few weeks and the reviews are amazingly positive.  If AMPAS finds it too “ambitious” to reward in Lead Actor or Best Picture, Linklater could carry the torch.

2013-01-10-christopher_nolan-e1357808652935You can’t really mention a screenplay category when you have a Christopher Nolan film in the mix.  Along with his brother Jonathan Nolan, the two brothers have a serious loss under their belt for Memento over twelve years ago.  Since then, Christopher has popped up with Inception, as both a producer and writing nominee.  This time, taking on something that passed through the hands of Steven Spielberg, perhaps AMPAS finds it necessary to crown the two of the most popular filmmakers around.  It should be worth noting, science fiction has a VERY difficult time in screenplay categories.  With seven Oscars last year, Gravity couldn’t even must a screenplay nomination.

We’ll also have our usual suspects like Woody Allen for Magic in the Moonlight, though many agree this could be is occasional “off-year” with Oscar.  After scoring his Oscar for Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe looks to return to good graces with both AMPAS and his legion of fans with his still untitled project starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone.

I always feel that Thomas McCarthy was a near miss with The Station Agent and The Visitor.  Though he received his deserved mention for Pixar’s Up, the writer/director is still vastly underrated for what he brings to the cinematic world.  In his newest drama The Cobbler, that stars Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Dustin Hoffman, and Ellen Barkin, he may have assembled a unique enough cast and crew to get AMPAS’ attention.

All the other suspects are listed on the Original Screenplay Oscar Predictions page.  The next updates will include Adapted Screenplay, Animated Feature, and finally venturing off into the technical categories.  

Include your thoughts in the comment section.


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Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of AwardsCircuit.com. Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.